Mechanical Engineer I

Job Details

New ideas are all around us, but only a few will change the world. That’s our focus at JPL. We ask the biggest questions, then search the universe for answers—literally. We build upon ideas that have guided generations, then share our discoveries to inspire generations to come. Your mission—your opportunity—is to seek out the answers that bring us one step closer. If you’re driven to discover, create, and inspire something that lasts a lifetime and beyond, you’re ready for JPL.


Located in Pasadena, California, JPL has a campus-like environment situated on 177 acres in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and offers a work environment unlike any other: we inspire passion, foster innovation, build collaboration, and reward excellence.


This unique opportunity is part of the Mechanical Systems Engineering, Fabrication and Test Division which engages in research, technology development, and the creation of advanced mechanical, thermal, propulsion, and electronic packaging systems with expertise that spans the full breath of mechanical disciplines and is applied from architectural concept development through operations. As part of NASA’s vision, JPL recognizes the importance of developing and advancing human exploration through in situ resource utilization.


As a Mechanical Engineer Level 1 you will be working for JPL's Propulsion, Thermal, and Materials Engineering Section which provides leadership and unique world-class expertise in a wide range of technologies and technical discipline areas of chemical and electrical propulsion, thermal, materials, contamination control, analytical chemistry, geochemical instruments, physics-based modeling, and multiphase flow.


The candidate will be a member of the Chemical Propulsion and Fluid Flight Systems Group and will report to the Group Supervisor.  You will work with senior engineers to develop and implement propulsion and fluid systems from inception through flight operations in order to advance scientific discoveries. Space missions will encompass a wide variety of targets, including earth orbit, earth’s Moon, Solar System Inner and Outer planets and their Moons, as well as asteroid belt and Kuiper belt bodies and beyond our solar system. You will perform mission studies, engineering development and testing, as well as flight hardware fabrication, test, and integration.


Your responsibilities include:

  • Investigate, plan, design and develop, mechanical products and systems such as spacecraft, instruments, robots, packaged electronics, controls, engines, and machines, and mechanical, thermal, hydraulic, propulsion, or heat transfer systems for the production, transmission, measurement, and use of energy.
  • Maintain cognizance of and responsibility for all technical and programmatic aspects of the product being developed, reporting the status and performance to the appropriate organizations.
  • Apply research to the planning, design, development, and testing of mechanical and/or electromechanical systems, instruments, controls, engines, and/or machines.
  • Evaluate and devise approaches to meet engineering requirements.
  • Partner with other engineers and project personnel to evaluate tests and verify mechanical products or systems.
  • Develop new technologies and concepts for improvement of existing and future products.
  • Attend subsystem reviews and answer questions regarding own analysis.
  • Apply broad knowledge in field to evaluate customer engineering requirements and devise approaches to meet requirements.
  • Develop and prepare complex requirements and interface agreements.
  • Apply extensive understanding and application in field of knowledge to contribute proposal data and graphic analysis on Proposal or Concept Study Report (CSR) Development.
  • Adapt complex technical models to create improved products for the organization.
  • Work independently on important assignments and projects with only limited supervision, typically receiving only general instructions.
  • Exercise discretion and independent judgment to compare and evaluate various methods, approaches, and resources and decide which will best accomplish each aspect of such assignments and projects.
  • Analyze situations or data requirement that needs identification, review and interpretation of complex factors as well as decisions as to policies, procedures and practices.
  • Provide frequent interaction with customers and peers inside and outside organization on significant matters.
  • Support occasional interactions with industry organizations.
  • Contribute as a key team member on teams inside or outside own organization, project, activity or function.


  • Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering with minimum of 1 year of related experience; Master’s Degree in similar disciplines.
  • Minimum 3.0 out of 4.0 cumulative GPA.
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Office applications and some experience with commercial computer-aided analysis and/or design programs.
  • Educational background and/or work experience in the application of advanced fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, heat and mass transfer, advanced measurement techniques electromagnetic systems, and rocket propulsion principles for propulsion systems.
  • Good verbal and written communication skills.
  • Extensive knowledge of applicable Laboratory policies and procedures, NASA policies and procedures, and government regulations.
  • Experience in advanced propulsion technology, design and analysis of spacecraft or satellite propulsion systems and knowledge of attitude control systems.
  • Ability to work as a member of a team and independently.
  • Ability to work under general supervision and use independent judgment to perform assignments of moderate complexity.
  • Experience with commercial computer-aided analysis and design programs such as MatLab and Unigraphics CAD. 

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JPL is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer and will, whenever possible, actively recruit and include for employment members of underrepresented minority groups, females, disabled veterans, protected veterans, and otherwise qualified persons with disabilities. JPL will hire, transfer, and promote based on the qualifications of the individual to ensure equal consideration and fair treatment of all.

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